Friday, August 28, 2015

Now's the Time: Montez Coleman

Montez Coleman will lead a band at the Blue Room on Friday, August 28.  He supports trumpeter Roy Hargrove in the embedded video.  The drummer from St. Louis has also collaborated with Kansas City’s Ahmad Alaadeen, Luqman Hamza and Bobby Watson.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Jazz scholar Scott DeVeaux was a guest on KCUR’s “Central Standard.”

*Joe Klopus runs down this week’s Charlie Parker Celebration events.

*The presence of Clay Jenkins at this year’s Charlie Parker Celebration is endorsed by KC Jazz Lark.

*The Pitch interviewed Ryan Heinlein and previewed a show by his Kansas City Bone Company.

*The annual visit of Kim Parker is noted in a television report.

*Pat Metheny created an extended promotional video for his upcoming release.

*Joe Dimino’s recent interviews include a chat with Joanne Weaver.

*Nate Chinen focused on performances by bands led by Joe Lovano, Myra Melford and Rudresh Mahanthappa in a review of the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival in New York.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Eldar- 6 years ago today I released the album "Virtue." Time flies! I was 21 years old when I recorded it - I'm proud of it.

*Comment o’ the Week: Anonymous- It's an interesting question. I don't have an answer either but I would rather listen to Bird than Lovano anytime. For me the Savoy and Dial recordings are timeless and exciting. Despite his obvious talent and creativity, I just don't enjoy Lovano's work as much.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Parker Party Pooper

I didn’t expect anything to come of the provocative question I scribbled on a notecard at the first event of this year’s Charlie Parker Celebration last Thursday.  At best, I hoped panel moderator Bill McKemy would privately smirk at its impertinence.

Yet McKemy bravely selected my contribution as the final question posed at a discussion titled “Bop Lives” in the foyer of the American Jazz Museum:

“When the overwhelming majority of people don’t know about brilliant contemporary players like Miguel Zenón, Rudresh Mahanthappa or Joe Lovano, why should they care about Charlie Parker?”

The panel consisting of author and radio personality Chuck Haddix, trumpeter Clay Jenkins and jazz scholar Scott DeVeaux sat in stunned silence for several seconds after the question was posed.  A few of the 75 people at Thursday’s function- less than ten were under the age of 30- gasped at its insolence.

Haddix eventually responded with a declaration about the importance of jazz radio programming.  DeVeaux suggested that education was the key to helping the public appreciate Parker.  Jenkins said nothing.

I don’t have an adequate answer either- the question was rhetorical. 

The three saxophonists I cited recently recorded or performed stellar Parker tributes.  Their art has been roundly ignored outside of the tiny jazz echo chamber.  Witnessing mildly panicked concertgoers rush from the grounds of the Prairie Village Jazz Festival as Lovano played Parker in 2014 was a clear indication that exposure isn’t the solution.

I could formulate an optimistic response based on Kendrick Lamar’s magnificent To Pimp a Butterfly, but making the artistic link between Parker and the rapper would be a stretch.

The efforts of the organizers of the Charlie Parker Celebration are noble.   Yet until his most vital disciples attain meaningful congregations, Parker’s place in popular culture will continue to fade. 

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, August 21, 2015

Now's the Time: Clay Jenkins

Although his site insists that he's "one of the most sought after jazz trumpeters in the country today," I was unfamiliar with Clay Jenkins until this week.  He's performed with the Stan Kenton Orchestra, the Harry James Orchestra and the Count Basie Orchestra.  Jenkins is the American Jazz Museum’s Artist in Residence for the second annual Charlie Parker Celebration that began last night.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Joe Klopus and Larry Kopitnik assess this year’s Charlie Parker Celebration.

*John Scott of the Green Lady Lounge and Broadway Kansas City was a guest on an episode of KCUR’s Central Standard.

*KC Jazz Lark documents the last two nights of the second incarnation of Take Five Coffee + Bar.

*Karrin Allyson will appear in a recording of 12th Street Jump  at Broadway Kansas City on September 10.

*Lonnie McFadden was featured on KCUR’s weekly Local Listen segment.

*Ralph Reid has been named as the interim CEO of the American Jazz Museum.

*Eldar Djangirov is soliciting financial support for his videos.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Hotel Phillips- The #CharlieParkerCelebration comes to 12Baltimore this Saturday w/ local Stan Kessler & guest Clay Jenkins 8-11pm.

*Comment o’ the Week: John Scott- We respect and appreciate Shades of Jade. You're good for Kansas City and the scene and we look forward to seeing you continue to grow and gain even more national recognition. Kansas City loves you and Green Lady loves you. Anonymous posting may be appropriate if one fears retribution when "speaking truth to power" but when used to needlessly insult fellow human beings it's cowardly, unkind and so often and in this case untrue. We all make mistakes and are sometimes too harsh but Anonymous poster you can make amends by simply removing your post.

*From Mark Lewis Music: ”It’s no accident that Mark Lewis will be in Kansas City on Charlie Parker’s birthday. That’s why he comes to Kansas City then… Mark Lewis grew up in the Northwest USA then moved to the Netherlands for many years to perform, teach and record music. He also lived in San Francisco for a few years and recorded a top 40 jazz album after auditioning for Stan Getz to land a record deal. He often subbed for Stan Getz after that.”  The Seattle based saxophonist will perform with Bram Wijnands at the Majestic on Friday, August 28 and Saturday, August 29.

*From a press release: The fall season of the Johnson County Community College Jazz Recital Series will kick off Tuesday, Sept. 22, with a group called the Tyrone Clark Trio.  The series, which showcases the talents of local jazz musicians, is free and open to the public. Performances will take place at noon on Tuesdays for seven consecutive weeks, from Sept. 22 through Nov. 3. The first five will take place in the Carlsen Center’s Polsky Theatre; the last two will take place in the Carlsen Center’s Recital Hall. Here's the lineup: Sept. 22: Tyrone Clark Trio, Sept. 29 Gerald Spaits, bass, Harry Miller, piano; Oct. 6: Ron Carlson, guitar, John Kizilarmut, vibraphone; Oct. 13: Michael Pagan, piano; Oct. 20: Ryan Lee Trio; Oct. 27: Kelley Gant Group; Nov. 3: Paul Roberts Trio.  The series is sponsored by the JCCC Music and Theatre departments. Seating is available on a first-come, first-seated basis.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Album Review: Hmph!- Headrush

Pat Metheny’s noisy Zero Tolerance For Silence is one of the most challenging albums of the 1990s. 

I may not be the only person who continues to listen to the abrasive project for pleasure.  Headrush, the debut album by Kansas City’s Hmph!, is a similarly corrosive guitar-based freakout. 

Hmph! may well be a math-rock band rather than a jazz group.  Whatever label is applied to the approach, it’s clear that Hmph and the like-minded Jorge Arana Trio are two of the most interesting improvisatory instrumental ensembles in Kansas City.

Hmph! performs Friday, August 21, at Harlings and Wednesday, August 26, at Mills Record Company.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Now's the Time: Alex Abramovitz

Alex Abramovitz and His Swing’n Kansas City Jazz Band will mark the release the new album “Ripe Off the Vine” at Broadway Kansas City on Saturday, August 15.  The retro-swing ensemble is best known for its brunch performances at the Phoenix.